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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder



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Sandy is  German and 18 years old. He stopped going to high school because of his illness.

Problem. When he was almost 15 years old , Sandy's parents noticed that after his newspaper and magazine delivery rounds , Sandy would wash his hands more and more often and for a longer and longer time. Eventually  he ended up spending more then an hour under the shower. When asked about it, Sandy told his parents that he felt as if he were being contaminated by a popular women's magazine .He also feared that through contact with boys from less academic schools , he might become like them-"common , slimy ,impulsive , aggressive , and stupid." Because he was afraid that he might be touched by such school boys in the bus ,he insisted that his mother take him to school  every day by car . Sandy soon came to regard the walls , the furniture , and other objects in his parents' home as contaminated by their  less educated visitors.

Only  his own room , where no one else was allowed,  seemed uninfected . He soon came to regard entire streets , buildings , shops , and play grounds as contaminated , and he often went out of his way to avoid passing these places. He gave up his beloved tennis and also stopped playing on the football team . He spent almost all of his spare in his room with the blinds down , sitting for hours in his chair doing nothing. He even refused to put on his washed and ironed clothing unless his mother had washed and ironed it under his supervision . In the end he could no longer read newspapers and magazines and could no longer touch his school  books. He soon became a complete failure at school because he could no longer follow the lessons and no longer did any school work.

                Worst of all were his evening rituals in the shower, where he spent hours using several bottles of shower gel .He would clean his finger nails until they bled, and his skin became chapped and sour. When his parents tried to prevent him from showering excessively he became aggressive. To their desperate attempts to make him realize that his fear of contamination and his endless washing were devoid of any realistic foundation, he constantly responded, "I know it's nonsense, but I just have to do it; I cannot help it."

He was often quite desperate and unhappy about his situation and kept crying about it.

     Sandy meets the criteria for an obsessive-compulsive disorder  with mixed  obsessional  thoughts and acts. For several  years he experienced obsessions of contamination and compulsions of washing that were repetitive and unpleasant, causing severe distress and interference with social and individual functioning. He acknowledged that the obsessions and compulsions originated from his own mind and that they were unreasonable. He had initially tried to resist his compulsions, but eventually give in to them.